Flames turning pages of Shakespeare, Thoreau, and Plato into amber ashes, Bradbury's, "Fahrenheit 451" tells a bitter story of censorship in a society where books are a threat to society's fibers. Being the burner of books, Montag struggles with the desire to understand the meaning of this threat. Throughout the novel Montag experiences struggles that he never thought he would ever deal with. In his search for peace of mind, he finds satisfaction, but it is bittersweet. Censorship is the prohibition of any material that might be considered obscene or objectionable; in this case, it is books. In the novel, there are two groups of factors that make censorship work well in this society: a general lack of interest and factors that make people hostile. These factors are what draw Montag to the books. The threat of books in Montag's society creates conflict in which he must battle to find the meaning for the banning of books, so that he can eliminate the violence and lack of free thought in the world.
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Another reason for censorship is to avoid physical and emotional pain. As Montag read the poem to the women, Mrs. Phelps begins to cry. She cried because she felt hurt by the poem. The lack of exposure to freedom of thought causes people to be severely affected by ideas that can be emotionally painful or impractical. The government has taken the threat of hurting people into consideration in this society, and that is another reason for the censorship of text. Montag continued to read the poem because he wanted the woman to think for herself. Instead, it created fear and she left the home. The lack of ability to deal with an emotion outside of those "allowed" by the government is what makes this society so dangerous. Dangerous, meaning that nobody is willing to stand up with a new idea. He fought with the idea that people are not willing to think on their own, and that is when he realized he couldn't be a part of this society any longer. On top of the pain that ideas can cause, the feeling of envy can enter into the picture, as well.
Knowledge creates envy because people that are more educated are envied by those who do read as much, and that is another factor in the banning of books. Montag is the perfect citizen and example for this idea. It is one of his internal conflicts, as well. He is jealous of those who came before him, because they had the opportunity to read books. He wonders what could be so wrong in books. This feeling is what pushes him to read books, which in turn creates violence and later societal destruction. In his journey to know more he kills Beatty, loses his wife, and ultimately Montag and the "book people" destroy society-using bombs, but he gains insight on life. The censorship of books made an even playing field for all of the citizens in this society. It took away the possibility of becoming jealous because there was nothing to be jealous of in this city. This is only part of Montag's conflict, and there is so much more for the reason books are threatening-plus, censorship takes another role.
The way the novel is written, the censorship has been enforced long enough for Montag and society to lose interest in the reason for books completely. The popularity of television eliminated the competition of books in Montag's society. Mildred talks about the TV as "her family" and she is always involved with it. Moreover, she listens to it at decibels that could break ones eardrums. Montag struggles with Mildred in this time because he wants to love her, but finds it hard when he feels like he is talking to a shell of the woman he used to love. This conflict is shown throughout the novel. He figures that if she reads with him, then she will come to him, but the lack of interest in books turns her away from him. She is so used to the censored life, and being told what to think by the television, that she would rather talk to her parlor family, than learn something new. This realization helps Montag become more willing to risk himself to discover the truth about books and their threat. Not only does television get in the way, but also society does not allow for concentration.
From loud noises to fast cars, the city is rampaged by little concentration. The citizens do not have time for books or anything that requires thought. Mildred had to go drive the car fast because she could not focus on the complications of life. When something gets complicated the people smash things, shot people, and drive fast. It does not allow for books, quiet tasks allow too much time for free thought, which is looked down upon in society. When Montag begins thinking on his own, after meeting Clarisse, he understands that people are hollow inside, and without books, life will die of speeding accidents and gunshots... This is unacceptable and that is why he seeks to find closure of this era.